eProcurement Analytics Pilot

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Digital public procurement today is still facing challenges related to lack of quality data, insufficient sharing and re-use of data, inability to match related data from different databases and systems preventing effective data-driven decisions. Shortage of skills that could leverage emerging technologies for advanced analysis of the data available is also a show-stopper.

Against this backdrop, AGID recognised the need to have a common European approach that could address some of these challenges that many EU countries are also facing. In October 2020, AGID submitted the first Italian proposal to the ISA2 (Interoperability Solutions for European Public Administrations) Committee, the eProcurement Analytics initiative, which identified the key components for a EU-wide solution. The proposal was approved and, as a result, the European Commission has launched a pilot to implement it.

The initiative is coordinated by the European Commission in collaboration with AGID (Italy) and the pilot members including ANAC (Italian National Anti-Corruption Authority), Consip (Italian national purchasing body), and IMPIC (Portuguese Institute of Public Procurement, Real Estate and Construction) acting as data providers. The objective of the pilot is to establish a common framework and infrastructure for monitoring public procurement in the EU, through a set of analytical services and tools based on a common data model, in order to foster effective government spending, active common policy-making and competitiveness.

In particular, existing data in different formats (Open Data (csv) from the ANAC BDNCP – the Italian National Database for Public Contracts; RDF data from Consip, and Json OCDS from IMPIC) together with data from TED (Tenders Electronic Daily) are being harmonised, mapping them to the eProcurement Ontology. TED publishes 746 thousand procurement award notices a year, including 235 thousand calls for tenders which are worth approximately €545 billion. The data analytics tools to be developed will be made available and will allow for a more granular analysis and monitoring. These data will be used to carry out analysis to ensure a better understanding of market dynamics in the European public procurement context and also improve operational aspects of digital procurement.

This pilot puts Italy at the forefront of the developments in the European digital public procurement context. We should be very proud of the significant effort being made in particular by the Italian data providers, ANAC and Consip, that through this pilot are paving the way for the establishment of the European Data Space for Public Procurement”. – stated Carmen Ciciriello, CEO, Celeris Group.

The Pilot represents the first implementation of the EU Public Procurement Data Strategy (as already foreseen in the European strategy for data) focused on the development of an infrastructure where data from various sources, such as TED and Member States’ systems are harmonised and then made available for re-use and analysis. In a first development phase, the European Commission is planning to use data from TED as its main data source, taking into account the migration from the current standard forms to the eForms, the new standard for sending notices to TED. The eForms have been introduced through the Implementing Regulation (EU) 2019/1780 that will mark a major improvement in terms of data quality and will become mandatory from October 2023.

The European Commission is monitoring the developments in Member States and has established the eForms subgroup within the Expert Group on eProcurement, which is led by French representatives and DG GROW.

The Water Health Open knoWledge (WHOW) project

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The WHOW project, launched in September 2020 and ending in August 2023 under the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) framework, represents a significant step towards achieving the goals of the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and in particular Goal #6 on Sustainable Water Management and Sanitation.

By promoting actions at the regional level, the UN Agenda urges countries to integrate Goal # 6, along with its target and indicators, into their national development plans by focusing on the issues regarding water management. Furthermore, it suggests an all-inclusive and strongly co-operational approach.

Relying on the data available in the United Nations Global SDG Indicators Database, the UN Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) released the 2021 assessment of SDG progress in the region. The Progress Index reports that the region will fully achieve 23 of the 169 SDG targets by 2030, while  progress needs to accelerate on another 57 targets, and for 9 targets, the current trend needs to be reversed. “With 80 targets out of the total 169 that cannot be adequately measured by official statistics, it is also a reminder of the magnitude of the work still ahead of us to measure the complexity of sustainable development in an internationally comparable manner.” – UNECE Executive Secretary Olga Algayerova stated.

The WHOW project will address the issue of data quality and harmonization. The project intends to create the first European knowledge graph on water consumption and pollution, with data sources coming from different administrative levels. It will link this environmental data to health data on disease diffusion. The WHOW project partners will integrate datasets from Italy and other European countries, as well as through data available on the European Data Portal (EDP) and the Copernicus Space Infrastructure, making them available for re-use.

WHOW promotes a set of actions aiming at designing fully distributed systems that are sustainable over time, managing large amounts of data available in real time, opening data (currently not publicly available) in compliance with the FAIR (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, Reusable) principles and building common semantics compliant with reference standards sector that can contribute to harmonized and standardized data at the European level. These actions will be coupled with the capacity building activities within the partners’ organization and an external engagement programme for interested communities and users from the public and private sector.

The Action will support the development of the European service infrastructure for Public Open Data fostering the development of products and services based on the re-use and combination of environmental data and health data on disease diffusion.

Celeris Advisory Ltd (Ireland) is  the Coordinator of the project, while other partners include the Italian Institute for Environmental Protection and Research (ISPRA), the Innovation and procurement regional Company of Lombardy Region S.p.A. (ARIA) and the Italian National Research Council – Institute of cognitive sciences and technologies (CNR-ISTC).

“WHOW is an ambitious and challenging project as it aims to address a key global issue.  It consists in achieving higher data quality and comparable data for the SDG Goals. Our efforts will be focused on data harmonization for selected SDG #6 indicators. This is our contribution to filling the current data knowledge gap to the benefit of the EU and the international community.” – Carmen Ciciriello, CEO Celeris Advisory and WHOW project Coordinator.

These challenges demonstrate a strong need for international cooperation and a fertile ground to combine efforts and find effective solutions within a sustainable timeframe. The UN Agenda requires countries and regions to achieve the SDG Goals by the end of 2030.